Rumors, backbiting and other office games are a drain on any organization, writes Michael McKinney, and only the most powerful person in the room successfully can challenge them. McKinney writes that because plots and plans are a basic human response to stress, they can't be banished with a memo or a set of HR policies. It takes open dialogue and frank leadership to fight office politics, according to McKinney, starting with acknowledging the behaviors for what they are and helping employees redirect their worries into more productive avenues.

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